Saturday, August 04, 2007
We will meet soon.
Crooning on my STEREO: Last Night by DIDDY feat Keyshia Cole
I've been in this rotten TV industry for too long; I've forgotten what constitute great films and I've also disregarded their crucial existence in my mundane life. You see, I've recently been watching so much of telly trash that I am led to believe that either this world is stupid, or the tube is stupid. Or both.
It's all in the name of work. It has made me benign. I think that I was a lot smarter when I was a student. My Phd hormones are kicking in.
Sit tight. I am going to lament over the deaths of Antonioni and Bergman. Not that they were my favourite directors to begin with, but one cannot deny that they were the last surviving European legends of a bygone golden cinematic era. Initially, I thought that both dudes were already dead 20 years ago simply because they hadn't produced any significant work since their glorious 50s and 60s, hence I would assume that they shouldn't be alive for another half-century.
Forgive my miscalculations. I suck at maths. I am trying to say that their lives have outlived their peaks.
First of all, Ingmar Bergman and Ingrid Bergman are NOT related to each other, although I reckon that itd be more interesting otherwise. Their only similarity is that they are both Swedish. I mean, they are from the land of Ikea and meatballs.
Ingmar Bergman is VERY nordic. So, expect alot of blonde characters and long winter nights in his films. His most famous work is the Seventh Seal; featuring the infamous scene that frames an aptly dressed knight playing chess with a figure of Death clad stylishly in a black cloak. Trust me that you would have seen this image; it has been exploited in all media forms after Bergman's death last Monday.
This is one of my favourite scenes from the film, where the poor knight is suddenly overwhelmed by the surprise visit of Death in his confession box. I think that this is very hilarious.
Malaysians can easily obtain a pirate copy of this film through your local DVD vendor. Just ask for Cerita Hantu.
Although I must stress that this is FAR from a horror flick.
My favourite Bergman work has to be Fanny And Alexander, a TV miniseries totalling 318 minutes. This has to be the longest viewing I have done in one sitting, but enough to instil great hopes in 1980s television. Every frame is simply breathtaking.
Michelangelo Antonioni is Italian. But not conventionally Italian as what you would see in La Vita E Bella nor La Dolce Vita. In actual fact, I highly regard him as boring. And slow. But not as painfully boring as Tsai Ming Liang.
If you would like to acquaint with Antonioni, L'avventura is a great start. It is the first part of the director's infamous trilogy that comprises of L'eclisse and La Notte... and for your info, all had done worlds better than the LOTR trilogy in critics' circles.
I am not a fan of films that subscribe to 'time suspended' narrative (aka. long windedness).... but this is what Antonioni is all about. You can have a storyline that can be compressed into 15minutes of whirlwind action, but only a great master can stretch it to 146 minutes in such an unforgettable and non-frustrating manner. (think: Tarkovsky)
In this old style 'survivor' tale that explores the strangled nature of relationships, Monica Vitti's performance on screen is certainly worth admiring. After Giulietta Massina, she has emerged as my second favourite Italian actress of all time. Watching her strengths portrayed on Antonioni's visuals makes me somewhat bitter that contemporary cinema no longer carries such quality performances.
Okay. Enough of whingeing. If Fellini had died within my era, I would have written his tribute in the form of a massive literary text. But alls hath passed and we, the surviving beings, are here to stay to indulge in their legacies.
Let's pray for the emergence another generation of awe-inspiring filmakers.
God bless Ingmar and Michelangelo. Rest In Peace.